Lists, lists, lists

As we begin our gallop into the holiday season, I have been thinking about ways to keep life under control while still having fun and enjoying the holidays.  Some holiday craziness is unavoidable.  At Thanksgiving there is a lot of cooking involved and if you are the host, some cleaning is probably in order as well.  This is the holiday I am focusing on right now (though always running through the back of my head are lists, lists, lists of what needs to be done for Christams.)  It is the easier of the two holidays, though for us, Thanksgiving is a lot more crowded than Christmas. We are hosting this year and there will be a minimum of 28 people sitting down (somewhere!) for dinner, with 17 of those being 18 and under.

So here are the things I am working on to make the holiday pleasant:

  1. Food lists.  What we need for the actual dinner as well as for other meals.  I plan to make as much ahead over the next week as possible.  It would also be fantastic if I only had to make one grocery store run over the course of the next week.  I'm not sure that is logistically possible and I'm a bit frightened at what the total will be.
  2. House cleaning.  My house is generally clean, but there is nothing like looking at it with new eyes to show me what I have learned not to see anymore.... the piles that have become part of the landscape, the lone items that haven't been put away correctly, the junk that has collected (again) and needs to be purged.  Plus, I have a guest room to see to as it has been unused for a while.
  3. Clothing.  Yes, we dress for Thanksgiving.  Nothing too fancy, but definitely nice clothes.  I also try to take advantage of the occasion and have a Christmas card picture taken of everyone as well.  Call me crazy, but I have dresses cut out for the two little girls for them to wear.  In theory, they look simple and shouldn't take me too long.  For everyone else, I need to take a look at what they have and make some degree of coordination come out of it.  (That picture-thing, you know.)
  4. Activities.  Over the years I've comes to realize that holidays are much more pleasant for everyone if we have some sort of known schedule.  Some of my children find a lot of open-ended time spent with cousins (some of whom they see very infrequently) to be stressful and their behavior reflects that level of stress.  While I don't want to schedule every minute, I need some sort of general plan and some planned activities up my sleeve so that things don't spiral out of control.  For Thanksgiving Day, while the adults are all fussing in the kitchen, I think I may plan some sort of Thanksgiving craft station to help occupy the younger crowd as dinner approaches.  The big question is where is this going to be if all available tables and chairs will be drafted into service for the actual dinner.  I suppose it's too much to hope for that the weather would be as nice as it is today and I could set it up outside on the back porch.  
  5. Table settings.  I need to work out a seating plan, not only who is going to sit where, but on and at what.  I foresee a long afternoon spent with paper and pencil drawing diagrams to see how it will all work.  I'm not even sure my dining room, big as it is, can hold everyone.  Then once I figure out physical logistics, I need to take a look at my linens and see what will work from that.  I think much linen ironing is in my future as well.
It looks as though it will be a full week.  I am hoping by doing this advance work that when the actual holiday arrives, I will be relaxed enough to enjoy it.  I want my children to remember our family having fun and enjoying each other during holidays and not of an insane mother who snaps the head off of anyone who tries to talk with her.  


MamatoMany said…
Do you have a garage? Dhs family always set up folding tables in the garage, with benches and folding chairs, for holidays, because there were a lot of people. Or you could set up the craft table in there? Maybe borrow folding tables/chairs from someone? Family Fun magazines website has lots of craft ideas. Oh, and you could always do dinner buffet style if needed!

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